At least 90 backward class students, aged between 6 and 12, staged a protest here on Friday over sub-standard food and facilities at their state-run hostel, prompting a probe by the district administration.
The students staged a sit-in demonstration in front of the Backward Classes Welfare Hostel at Chimanbagh here and put on display the poor quality—and quantity—poha-halwa served to them for breakfast instead of the prescribed bread, butter, jam, milk (600 ml) and egg.
The government is spending lots of money, but what we are getting is before you, they said, alleging that hostel officials had failed to redress their long-pending grievances with regard to food and beds.
As per the officials, the state government spends Rs 3,000 per month on every hostel inmate. Out of this, each inmate gets Rs 300 as pocket money, while rest of Rs 2,700 has to be spent on diet. The students said they had complained many times against the hostel superintendent Rajendra Mataskar, who had assumed charge last month, but all was in vain.
Sources said similar allegations were levelled against Mataskar when he was the superintendent at Morod-situated Eklavya hostel.
“Now we have no option but to stage a protest so that our grievances can be redressed immediately,” the students said.
Officials assured prompt steps to redress their grievances following which the students stopped their protest after an hour.
Mohini Shrivastava, assistant commissioner, tribal welfare department, Indore, admitted that the quality and quantity of food served to the kids was poor, and promised action against those responsible after an investigation.
“Prior to this, I’ve got similar complaints in which students claimed that milk quality milk quality was not up to the mark and food was not good. I’ve asked five students to keep an eye on the cook when the latter boils the milk. But the cook did not allow them to enter the kitchen,” she said.
“We will investigate the matter and take stern action if anyone is found guilty,” she added.
On coming to know of the matter, district collector P Narhari ordered sub-divisional magistrate Anil Banwariya to conduct a probe.
Banwariya confirmed the poor quality of food, saying, “We saw grains that were not up to the mark as several insects, bugs, even lizard were found in the containers.”
“Apart from that, there were only 80 beds for 100 kids. The hostel administration has put 20 beds in the store room,” he said.
Students have also complained that while the hostel has two sports teachers, only one was available as the other marked his attendance and remained absent, the SDM said.
He also noted that there were only two toilets to cater to almost 100 students, and has asked the hostel authorities to build six more toilets in the next few days.
Banwariya said he will submit a detailed report to the district collector on Saturday.